April 12 Was Equal Pay Day & The Start Of A New Wave Of Congressional Action To Stop Forced Arbitration!

April 12 Was Equal Pay Day & The Start Of A New Wave Of Congressional Action To Stop Forced Arbitration And Restore Our Civil Rights!

This year, however, the focus of Equal Pay Day was not only on the necessity of legislation to effectively end wage discrimination. Many members of Congress took the opportunity to underscore the fact that ending forced arbitration is integral to achieving enforcement of our civil rights laws.

On April 12, Representative Hank C. Johnson (D-GA) introduced the “Restoring Statutory Rights and Interests of the States Act of 2016” (H.R. 4899), the same bill that was introduced in the Senate on February 4. Representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Judy Chu (D-CA), and David N. Cicilline (D-RI) signed on as original co-sponsors.

The “Restoring Statutory Rights Act of 2016” would prohibit employers from imposing forced arbitration and hold them accountable in a court of law for illegal treatment of employees. The Act would do just what its title says; it would restore the right to seek enforcement of statutorily granted civil rights in a court of law and preclude employers from forcing resolution of those disputes in a privately run, often secret, tribunal that renders decisions which are generally unappealable.  In recent years, the right to go to court to resolve employment claims has been eroded significantly as forced arbitration of employment disputes becomes more pervasive.

Senator Leahy issued a press release saying, “At a time when women still make 79 cents for every dollar made by their male counterparts, we must ensure that our equal pay and other civil rights laws are meaningfully enforced. Unfortunately, countless Americans are being stripped of their rights under these laws by contracts that force them into the shadow justice system of forced arbitration

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